March Madness

Guest Post by Michael Chambers (guest posts are moderated, but not approved or endorsed by the CCA Steering Committee)
Moving into spring, the usually slow winter months produced several issues that continue to resonate in this town. The blizzard, named Nemo, tested the town’s emergency preparedness.

Ron Areglado has written a very thought provoking letter to the Westerly Sun with the intent of establishing a set of presentations to the citizens of Charlestown to inform them about what industrial turbines within neighborhood limits can do. Thanks to Ron and his wife, Maureen, the opportunity for residents to learn about what the Whalerock Project entails and how it can adversely impact the quality of life for all of Charlestown will be educational.

The program announcements listing the speakers, topics, dates, times, and place of the presentations and the question and answer sessions will be made known to us well in advance of the actual presentation dates. Ron and Maureen are not abutters, but have put more time and energy into protecting the town from the industrial turbines, even more than many of the actual abutters.

Donna Chambers was appointed as a member of the Chariho School Committee. During the Town Council meeting, three people made statements as to their qualifications, and with deference to the feelings of the candidates, the Town Council took a written vote and announced their selection. No one complained but a few days later some Democratic Town Committee members and maybe a Republican too, filed a complaint about a possible Open Meetings Act violation. One blogger of dubious career achievements declared that Donna Chambers was totally unqualified for the position. I imagine forty-four years in Education; running a statewide adult learning program; working as an advisor to the State of Massachusetts and the Boston School Departments; and helping the neediest citizens to acquire an actual high school diploma counts for nothing. Somebody, please tell that blogger to get a clue. But, of course I am biased and more fortunate than he is.

Finally, the Town Council heard testimony on both sides of the NECAP/Charter School debate. After due deliberation, they unanimously decided that they will not support the legislation introduced by Representative Donna Walsh and Senator Cathie Rumsey which would have effectively limited the choice Chariho Region parents would have in selecting Federally-funded schools for their children. In one of the more undemocratic statements I have heard, the Democratic bloggers berated the charter school parents for wanting to have a choice of schools. Maybe the word from Washington related to Freedom of Choice had not yet arrived at their Charlestown office. We can’t blame all this March Madness on Nemo, however.